The latest mobile payments platform to challenge Apple Pay isn’t coming from Google, Microsoft, or Samsung, it’s coming from a consortium that you’ve probably never heard of: MCX. Short for Merchant Customer Exchange, this platform is being backed by a consortium of retailers, including big names like Best Buy and Wal-Mart, to prevent tech companies like Apple from dominating the mobile payments market.
CurrentC, the MCX-developed mobile payment platform backed by a number of major U.S. retailers, will reportedly see an initial trial run in August, signaling that the service is finally approaching a public launch. That trial will be limited, three sources explained to Bloomberg, although they did not mention details. A spokeswoman for one company in the MCX consortium, Lowe’s, said that a CurrentC app should launch sometime in the September quarter. MCX COO Scott Rankin confirmed only that tests are beginning this year and that the consortium is “making good progress” on the app. “We expect there to be more than one successful player in mobile payments, and we expect to be one of them,” he added. CurrentC was created as a way for retailers to reduce fees paid to credit card comanies and other financial services, and has the backing of businesses like Best Buy, Walmart, CVS, and Wendy’s. The service should also allow retailers to hold on to customer data, something they stand to lose if other mobile payment platforms catch on.